FULL TIME: Sunderland 1-2 Manchester United
But it matters not. The 18-year-old Januzaj has won United this game. Moyes walks onto the pitch after shaking hands with his opposite number Ball, and holds his fists in the air triumphantly! That's a precious three points for Moyes, whose decision to start the young man has paid off brilliantly. Not least because United have wheeched into the top half of the Premier League table! Ninth, they are, now. As for Sunderland, they remain at the bottom, but at least there's another performance which promises a brighter future. And they won't be playing
Manchester United Adnan Januzaj every week.
90 min +5: Westwood is caught upfield as United mop up the corner and break. Cleverley is free down the left, but hesitates instead of shooting into the unguarded net, and is eventually stopped in his tracks. Welbeck, free in the centre, is not impressed.
90 min +4: Westwood comes up for the corner! He causes enough bother for de Gea to flap. Ji hits a shot which hits Rooney on the arse, a proper comic moment. Another corner!
90 min +3: Wickham heads on a long ball. Smalling is forced to head behind for a corner.
90 min +2: Colback wallops a long free kick into the United area from the halfway line, but United deal with it easily.
90 min +1: Sunderland's brief revival looks spent, with United playing keepball in the opposition half.
90 min: There will be five added minutes.
88 min: Van Persie is sent clear down the inside-right channel, but with only Westwood to beat, fires low, hard and wide of the right-hand post. What an awful miss! On the touchline, Moyes holds his head in his hands, before quickly remembering his media training. He doesn't want to be giving picture editors any useful stock photos for evenings less successful than this.
87 min: Rooney goes down holding his ankle. He gets up after a while, albeit in the 'Ginger' style, causing no little cursing Chez Hodgson, I'll be bound.
86 min: United sit back, and are forced to soak up a bit of pressure, Ji and Cattermole flinging balls into the area from the left. But United eventually spring forward and waste time in the Sunderland half. They're now happy to keep a hold of what they've got, it would seem.
85 min: Sunderland are asking a few late questions, Rafael forced to hack clear from the edge of the box as O'Shea causes a bit of basic bother. It's the full back's final act, as he limps off to be replaced by Smalling.
83 min: Ji slides a ball down the inside-left channel for Giaccherini, whose dinked cross is headed out by Jones. The corner's worked to the right for Cattermole, who swings a ball to the far side where Larsson (yes I know) is able to fire a low cross into the centre. It's a dangerous ball, but Vidic is on hand to blooter clear. Excellent play by Sunderland, but even better defending by Vidic.
81 min: United are enjoying the lion's share now. They pass it here, hither, there and yon in the Sunderland half a while. Welbeck looks to break down the left, and is shouldered to the floor by O'Shea, who is rightly booked. A few more passes. Rafael cuts in from the right and sees his daisycutter from 20 yards swallowed by Westwood, who has done nothing wrong this evening but looks like ending up on the losing side.
78 min: Rafael is booked for a cynical bodycheck on Colback.
77 min: The two-goal hero Januzaj and Nani are sacrificed for Valencia and Welbeck. "Did you know that Sunderland is an anagram of relegation?" asks Simon McMahon, much to Nick Hewer's disgust.
76 min: Cattermole attempts to free Celustka down the right with a raking diagonal pass, but it sails into the stand. Nothing's coming off for Sunderland now, who had their chances in the first half, and now look.
74 min: A sharp turn by Rooney on the right-hand corner of the Sunderland box. He looks for the top-right corner but his shot is wild and high. You sense there are more goals in this for United now. Sunderland need another, of course, and regarding this, Wickham comes on for Ki.
72 min: Vidic has a godawful slash at a low Larsson cross from the right. Ji puts the ball back into the mixer from the left, and Vidic sorts out his own mess by easing Altidore out of the picture at the right-hand post. He's been uncharacteristically all over the shop today, has Vidic. This United defence needs a little bit of work, because they won't get away with as many mistakes as this at the very top level.
70 min: Vidic is booked for a shove in Altidore's back on the halfway line. Totally unnecessary. He has the decency to wear a shameful look on his coupon as he receives his punishment.
68 min: Rooney, 40 yards out on the right, tries to lob Westwood. Come along now. The ball sails out for a goal kick.
65 min: Nani one-twos with van Persie down the right, but is marginally offside as he breaks into the area. He'd have been free on goal. Sunderland are falling apart here. There's the paper-thin confidence of a team struggling at the bottom.
63 min: Ji comes on for Johnson. Sunderland are in total shock, having played brilliantly in the first half. But they've been dreadful since the restart, and there's no accounting for a talent like Adnan Januzaj. If United don't sort out this lad's contract soon, they'll never forgive themselves.
GOAL!!! Sunderland 1-2 Manchester United (Januzaj 61)
A ball flung into the Sunderland area from the right by Nani. It's not much of a cross, headed on by O'Shea, but what difference does that make? The ball drops to Januzaj, 12 yards out, just to the left of goal. Having just battered one into the left-hand side of goal with his right, this one is sent whistling into the bottom right with his left. What a shape he assumed to take that volley, guided home just so. You'll not see Robin van Persie or Wayne Rooney do anything better any time soon. That was sheer brilliance!
60 min: United flood forward again. Carrick looks to set van Persie free down the inside left, but the striker's just offside as he breaks into the box. The free kick is brief respite for Sunderland, who can't get a sniff of the ball at the moment.
58 min: This is all United now. Rooney whips a free kick into a loaded area from the left, but Westwood claims. Then Januzaj feeds Evra down the left. Evra fires another low cross into the area, where van Persie fires straight down Westwood's throat from the edge of the box.
56 min: Sunderland make an instant change, swapping Gardner with Larsson. "Is it just among Baggies fans or does our green and yellow stripes, made famous by the last Albion team to win at Old Trafford, have widespread traction?" wonders Rob Preece. They do it for me, but then I'm getting on a bit.
GOAL!!! Sunderland 1-1 Manchester United (Januzaj 54)
This is such a brilliant finish. Evra makes himself some space down the left, and fires a low ball into the area, where from 12 yards, the in-rushing Januzaj sidefoots powerfully into the top-left corner with his right! He'll be some player all right.
53 min: Gardner is booked for a deliberate handball on the edge of the United area. Cattermole is beside himself with the rage, because the referee took an age to get his card out, and only did so after two United players - sorry, I didn't see their faces, I was blinded by the beauty of the gingham - demanded that the referee took action.
52 min: Evra scoops a ball to the far post from the left touchline. Westwood, tracking backwards, claims well. His handling has been really assured so far in this match.
51 min: A couple of high balls thrown into the United area. Vidic and Jones deal with it pretty well. Gardner shapes to take a shot on the edge of the box, but slips over. Other than this, it's been all United so far since the restart.
48 min: Januzaj is booked for a preposterous dive, as he flops to the ground while running past Ki, looking for a penalty. That looked pretty silly, not least because before thrusting his nipples to the turf in the slapstick style, he was actually making good ground into the area, with Sunderland looking nervous. On the touchline, David Moyes gives it the full Begbie Eyes in the player's direction, before paying lip service to giving the assistant referee a bit of grief. I wouldn't want to be in the young man's shoes later, whatever the result.
47 min: Nani feints this way and that, but he's eventually robbed by Gardner, Sunderland's hard-pressing game showing no signs of letting up yet. Sunderland tear upfield through Ki, but Cleverley responds in kind with a lung-busting chase and tackle, the sort that should inspire his team-mates to similar efforts. They'll need to fight like this, because Sunderland don't look in the mood to give an inch.
We're off again! United, in their gorgeous gingham, get the party started again. Now, if United fail to turn this round in the second half, they'll have lost three league games in succession for the first time since November/December 2001, when they lost to Arsenal, Chelsea and West Ham. However, those not favourably disposed to United should be careful what they wish for: that little run of misfortune was followed by nine wins in a row. Anyway, never mind all that, there's still 45 minutes still to go here for a start.
HALF-TIME ENTERTAINMENT. A little bit of retro wallowing, brought to you by Tyne-Tees Television.
HALF TIME: Sunderland 1-0 Manchester United
United spend the last couple of minutes of the half stroking the ball around hither and yon, but get absolutely nowhere. Nani has half a chance to skip clear down the left, but his lumpen touch allows Giaccherini to come in and belt the ball off his legs and out for a goal kick. And that's that for a very impressive half from Sunderland, who could easily have three goals to their name. United haven't been awful, though, dominating much of the play, so don't be penning the three-defeats-in-a-row headlines yet. This promises to be an entertaining second half.
45 min: United win a corner down the left, but Rooney's delivery is easily snaffled by Westwood.
43 min: Altidore sprays a ball to the left for Johnson, who makes good for the area. He reaches the byline, after powering past a hopeless Nani challenge. His shot is blocked. He pulls the ball into the centre, just behind Altidore, but to the feet of Giaccherini, six yards out. The net should ripple, but that's three rugby points, a hopeless blooter miles over the bar when it was quite difficult to miss the target. Sunderland will wonder how they've not scored at least two goals in this half, but it looks like one will have to suffice.
41 min: Rooney is robbed of the ball by Gardner, who makes off for the halfway line. His face is introduced to the turf by Rooney, backtracking desperately and opting to take one for the team, who were light at the back. That's a booking. Rooney has the good grace not to complain.
40 min: Nani has a bang from a tight angle on the right. It's a fine effort, forcing Westwood to parry the fierce shot round the post. Nothing comes of the corner. United are knocking at the door here.
39 min: Rooney, Carrick and Cleverley shuttle the ball across the front of the Sunderland area, left to right. Eventually Januzaj decides to take a shot, but his effort is blocked. Sunderland look to break upfield but can't get anything going. Their league position is suddenly becoming apparent.
37 min: O'Shea nearly sets up van Persie at the right-hand post with a Vidicesque loose pass. But the striker looks to find Rooney in the middle instead of taking a whack, and Celustka comes across to skelp clear.
36 min: A free kick for United down the left. Rooney curls one to the far post, where Roberge heads clear. Nani picks up down the other wing, but his ball inside is again met with a powerful Roberge header. Brilliant defending, because both of those crosses looked troublesome.
34 min: A bit of space for Johnson down the left. His floated cross is met by Giaccherini, who from ten yards powers a header towards the top left. It's flying in, but de Gea stretches out to full length, fingertipping round the post, a stunning save. The corner's wasted. That could easily have been a second for Sunderland, which would have stunned a United side making their way back into this game.
32 min: Evra loops a dangerous cross into the Sunderland area from the left, but Westwood comes out to make a very determined claim. That will give his defenders a bit of confidence, because they've been on the back foot for the last few minutes. "I suppose United’s fetching all-grey strip of the mid 90s was the most infamous as it didn’t even complete a full match," suggests Colin Young of the Viewcam years.
29 min: Rooney slides a ball along the right channel for van Persie, but the striker can't get a shot away as he enters the box, O'Shea doing well to bundle out for a corner. The corner's punched confidently clear by Westwood. Rooney swings a cross in from the left, but that's easily walloped clear by Roberge. The home crowd are beginning to get a bit tense, though, with United beginning to dominate possession.
26 min: Nani goes on a syncopated jink down the right, but just as things look like opening up for United, he's held up by Cattermole. Small signs of frustration on a couple of United faces, but they've been working their way back into this game, and shouldn't get too het up yet.
23 min: Januzaj picks up the ball from deep, takes a few strides upfield, and sends a pearoller down the throat of Westwood. But he's looking lively, and up for this. "I suppose you could say that Southampton's red shirt isn't famous, in the sense that if you'd been away for two years, you wouldn't know they wore a red shirt rather than stripes," argues Mark Ellison. "On the subject, are there any teams whose away kit is more iconic than their home? England's red springs to mind. And Arsenal's muddy yellow and dark blue away kits from the late eighties and early nineties do it for me, despite being an Orient fan." Crystal Palace's white with blue-and-red sash? Actually that might have been both home and away for them at some point, unless I've become even more confused than usual, which admittedly is very possible. Anyway, I digress.
21 min: Evra, from a deep position on the left, curls a ball towards Nani, ten yards out and level with the right-hand post. He's got time to take a touch, but opts to volley instead. He successfully puts his foot through the ball, but flashes the shot across the goal and wide left. That was very close, and yet a poor miss from where he was. Just before that move developed, Altidore bundled Vidic off the ball again; this state of affairs must be causing David Moyes some concern.
19 min: Vidic's up-and-down performance continues apace. Now he's upended Altidore, just to the left of the United D. This is a free kick in a very dangerous position. Giaccherini looks for the top-left corner, but Carrick rises to get a head on the free kick, sending the ball looping up, down and into de Gea's arms.
17 min: United pin Sunderland back. Nani tries to break down the inside right channel but is held up. Cleverley takes up possession and slips the ball to Januzaj, who feints left but takes a touch to the right, before whistling a majestic low shot with little backlift inches past the left-hand post. This young man is going to be some player.
14 min: Evra reaches the byline and whips a low ball towards the near post, where Rooney sees his close-range snapshot brilliantly parried by Westwood. But it wouldn't have counted anyway, Evra having been caught a yard offside when over-excitedly romping after Januzaj's excellent through ball. Safe to say the young Belgian/Albanian has looked more assured going forward so far than tracking back.
13 min: This is much better by Vidic. Giaccherini is released into the area down the right by a clever Celustka backheel, but the United defender closes down and wins a goal kick, playing the ball off the rampaging defender.
11 min: Rooney wins a knockdown against O'Shea from Nani's deep right-wing cross, but there's nobody in attendance to latch onto the present. Sunderland clear. "I've been wondering," writes Joe McGrath, having spent too long thinking about this report's preamble, "are there any teams whose primary shirt colour is not considered famous?" That's a fair point, well made. I suppose Cardiff's is more infamous now. Would that count?
8 min: Sunderland should be two goals up. Gardner robs Jones and scampers clear in acres down the left. With only Vidic in the middle, Sunderland are three on one. Gardner, upon reaching the area, should shoot, but looks up for Altidore in the middle, hesitates, and allows Jones to come back and make the saving tackle. United appear to be in shock at the start they've made, but they better snap out of it double-quick, because this is not behaviour becoming league champions.
7 min: United respond well, pushing Sunderland back into their own area. Nani sends a low heatseeker towards the bottom-left corner from 25 yards, the ball only just missing the post.
GOAL!!! Sunderland 1-0 Manchester United (Gardner 5)
And Vidic's nightmare continues! Giaccherini slips Evra down the right and whacks a low ball across the United area. Jones clanks a poor clearance sideways to Vidic, who manages to bang the ball against his standing leg, teeing it up for Gardner. The Sunderland man makes no mistake, whipping a low shot across de Gea and into the bottom-left corner! The Stadium of Light erupts, first in stunned laughter, then in joy. What a start for the home side, and what a ridiculous mistake by the normally dependable Vidic.
2 min: Altidore gives Vidic a head start of five yards as the two chase a long ball down the right, and nearly nips ahead to win a corner. Vidic slices out for a Sunderland throw, from which nothing comes. But that's not the most solid start by a player who didn't have the greatest match against Shakhtar Donetsk during the week.
47 seconds: Now it's Keiren Westwood's turn to have a fondle of the ball, United conceding possession with a similarly witless wang upfield. Improvements, please!
Sunderland get the ball rolling! And then hoick it forward aimlessly. The ball's in David de Gea's hands within four seconds. The only way is up.
The teams are out! Sunderland are dressed in their famous red-and-white shirts, while United are in the black-and-midnight-navy gingham we all know and love. A rare old atmosphere at the Stadium of Light this fine evening. "With Fulham grabbing three points and drawing level with a Manchester United only two points above the drop zone, what we have here is a good old-fashioned bottom of the table clash, a relegation six-pointer if you will." Ben Russell there, folks, saying it because someone had to.
Cast and crew
Four-league-losses-on-the-bounce Sunderland replace Carlos Cuellar and Sebastian Larsson with Ondrej Celustka and Valentin Roberge: Westwood, Celustka, O'Shea, Roberge, Colback, Cattermole, Ki, Johnson, Gardner, Giaccherini, Altidore.
Subs: Cabral, Larsson, Wickham, Cuellar, Mannone, Ji, Borini.
Three-league-losses-in-four Manchester United welcome back Wayne Rooney, Phil Jones, Nani and Adnan Janujaz, with Danny Welbeck, Chris Smalling, Antonio Valencia and Marouane Fellaini making way: De Gea, Rafael Da Silva, Jones, Vidic, Evra, Carrick, Cleverley, Nani, Rooney, Januzaj, van Persie.
Subs: Giggs, Smalling, Lindegaard, Hernandez, Welbeck, Valencia, Kagawa.
Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside)
Kevin Ball's application for the Sunderland job is going to a third interview. He's performed pretty well in the first two, all things considered: a solid 2-0 win the League Cup against Peterborough United, then a determined if ultimately futile display in a 3-1 defeat by Liverpool. But he'll probably need something significant on his CV if he's to be given a chance in the big chair. How about a win, or at least a point, against the reigning champions? Even a draw would be something to crow about: after all, Sunderland only have a single point to show for their efforts so far this season, and are currently on a run of three league defeats on the bounce. The only way is up.
As for United? They're either in crisis, or they're not, depending on what you want to believe. Way of the modern world.
If recent history is any guide, this should be a shoo-in for United. They've won their last five games against Sunderland. The Black Cats, meanwhile, haven't beaten United in the league since March 1997, when Michael Gray and John Mullin did for the visitors at Roker Park, though they were a late Anton Ferdinand own goal away from winning at Old Trafford back in October 2009, forced to settle for a 2-2 draw. Slim pickings in terms of succour, but Sunderland can probably draw most from the fact that the last four stagings of this fixture has seen a mere three goals scored - three United 1-0 wins and a 0-0 - so it could be close at least. You're not leaving, are you?
Kick off: 5.30pm.